Alexander Skarsgård swings into action as John Clayton, aka Tarzan, in a story that sees him righting real historical wrongs and pits him against Belgian colonialists in the 1880s Congo.
When we first meet him, he is back in England, a tea-drinking aristocrat leading a refined life with his wife, Jane (Margot Robbie). Flashbacks remind us of his African past as an orphaned baby raised by apes.
Then comes an invitation from the Belgian king to tour the Congo. Samuel L Jackson’s American campaigner George Washington Williams (a real-life figure) urges him to go, hoping to use his celebrity to expose colonial atrocities.
However, unbeknown to the two of them, it is really a ruse by Christoph Waltz’s scheming envoy to lure Tarzan into a trap.
This movie does well with its bursts of dashing jungle action and makes a fair stab at bringing Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic tale into the 21st century.
Skarsgård gives us rippling muscles and a furrowed brow to convey Tarzan’s strong and sensitive sides, Robbie has a feisty spark that prevents Jane from turning into a damsel in distress, even though Waltz’s sly villain is trying to shove her into that box, and Jackson adds humour to his role as the film’s moral conscience.